Advertising & Beyond

Crimes Against the Mind

Stefan Makkus
Practice Autonomous Practices
Project Public and Private
Major Advertising & Beyond
Year Fourth Year

Nominee: Bachelor Research Award 2020

Crimes against the mind are about redefining current definitions of crimes happening in cyberspace. In cyberspace, the intellectual self may split from the physical self. This is the result of using voice chat or typing words within a role-playing narrative. Virtual actions could, therefore, lead to an emotional and symbolic meaning in the real world even though it happened in a virtual environment.

This applies to acts of misconduct, humiliation, sexism, racism and any form of sexual abuse. It is time to redefine the symbolic nature of these crimes. We need to think of these violations as a crime against the mind.

Current law does not classify virtual crimes as psychical crimes, this is the reason why this project aims to create the urgency to change the current definition of crimes committed in cyberspace.

This project serves as an archive to showcase the crimes happening in a virtual environment by publishing the raw code extracted from games.

Research and Empathy

The internet has revolutionised the communications world in a way we haven’t seen before. Since the development of the internet in 1966, and the introduction of the World Wide Web, traditional boundaries between societies all over the world faded and raised new opportunities and risks for
how people would communicate with each other.

Digital communication can encourage intimacy or create new friendships but also result in a lack of accountability and impolite behaviour. In times of xenophobia and selfishness where groups of people confront each other without space for any discussion, it is important to look at ways how to bring these people closer to each other.

Empathy can be a good way to combat this on,- and offline form of xenophobia and selfishness. Empathy is the ability to share and understand what another person is thinking and feeling. By using the experience of digital environments and the creation of virtual identities in Role-playing games, it is possible to transform feelings of empathy into something that connects people.

Since empathy is such a complex and personal human emotion and feeling, it is important to research this from a fitting perspective. Being visually present and interacting with the online roleplaying community inside Grand Theft Auto V allowed this project to present an honest and personal outlook on online social behaviour. This resulted in a collection of virtual interviews based around personal experiences and opinions by the role-playing gaming community.

Interview with David, who is roleplaying as a female on Grand Theft Auto V